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Volume LXX, Number 4

June 2017


AGNES CALLARD, Everyone Desires the Good: Socrates’ Protreptic Theory of Desire

Socrates says that everyone desires the good. Does he mean that people desire what appears to them to be good? Or does he mean that they desire what really is good? This article argues, with reference passages in the Meno and Gorgias, that these alternatives are less opposed than they seem: each identifies something Socrates takes to be a necessary but insufficient condition on desiring. If what we desire must both be and appear to us to be good, then people desire a subset of the things they take themselves to desire, and a subset of the things that really are good. Pointing this out to people incites them to inquire about the good, since they will be motivated to discover which appearances are mistaken and which goods they have missed out on. This explains why Socrates so frequently asserts that everyone desires the good: it serves his protreptic purposes.

ANNE SIEBELS PETERSON, The Primacy of Organism: Being, Unity, and Diversification in Aristotle’s Metaphysics

Socrates and Plato are one in species, but diverse in number. What accounts for their diversity in this sense? This question lies at the center of a longstanding controversy over what has been called the principle of individuation. Though multiple questions have been investigated using the terminology of individuation, the author’s focus here is on the question of what, for Aristotle, explains the numerical diversification of cospecific organisms, along with the two mainstream answers to this question: that their diversity derives from the diversity of their matter, or that it derives from the diversity of their forms. She argues that if we take Aristotle’s metaontology as our starting point for investigating this question, both of the mainstream views falter for the same reason. Aristotle’s analyses of the concepts of unity and diversity support the conclusion that the diversity of cospecific organisms is underived.

JORDAN OLVER, Bonum Nostrum: Thomas Aquinas and Love of Others for Their Own Sake

Thomas Aquinas holds that we can love others for their own sake, but it is not clear how such love is possible given his commitment to eudaimonism and to the more general principle that all things seek their perfections as their ultimate end. To explain how nonegoistic love is possible on Thomistic grounds, this article examines the good that is the object of the will, and attempts to determine the relation between this good and the good of the self. The author proceeds dialectically, examining first simple solutions and then turning to more complex accounts found in the literature, specifically those of Louis-Bertrand Geiger, Avital Wohlman, and David Gallagher. He argues that the solution is found in the possibility of the good that we will being a common or shared good. Common or shared goods perfect us, but their proper subject, for whom they are principally willed, is something beyond the self.

MICHAEL KRYLUK, Gallows Pole: Is Kant’s Fact of Reason a Transcendental Argument?

This essay examines one of the most obscure and controversial tenets of Kant’s critical philosophy, his claim in the Critique of Practical Reason that the moral law is immediately and unquestionably valid as an a priori fact of reason (Factum der Vernunft). This argument curiously inverts Kant’s earlier stance in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, in which he justifies the reality of the categorical imperative through a much more cautious and qualified authentication of transcendental freedom. Against constructivist readings, which tend to downplay the justificatory burden of the Factum, the author claims that Kant’s position is best understood as a transcendental argument. In other words, Kant argues from a given or assured conditioned, consciousness of binding moral obligation, to the sole condition of its possibility in transcendental freedom. In order to rebut the standard objections prompted by this line of interpretation, the author emphasizes the technical function of Kant’s Factum as both a deed (Tat) and product (Tatsache) of practical reason.

CHARLOTTA WEIGELT, The Now as Number, Point, and Limit: Reconsidering Heidegger’s Verdict on Aristotle’s Concept of Time

In this article, the author challenges Heidegger’s verdict on Aristotle as the founder of the so-called vulgar notion of time, according to which time can be accurately represented as a sequence of nows. Against Heidegger, who follows the traditional insistence on the now as the number of time, she argues that it is only when we take seriously Aristotle’s comparison between the now, on the one hand, and the point and the limit, on the other, that we will understand his idea that the now actualizes our experience of time, namely, as it delimits the past from the future, a delimitation that is simultaneously a linking together of these two temporal dimensions. Far from being an objective point within the flow of time, the now is an idealized point of view from which the temporal horizon of past and future is opened up to us. In this sense, the now is the ultimate presupposition of our experience of time.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 08 June 2017 17:30 )